‘The Bad Place’ by Dean Koontz – Review (Book)

‘The Bad Place’ is one of Koontz’s more supernatural novels and tells the story of Frank Pollard.

Frank wakes up in an alley knowing nothing but his name and feeling an overwhelming urge that he’s being chased and needs to get away.

He hires a private detective husband and wife team to help him after suffering more blackouts and having no idea what is happening to him… Or indeed who he is.

As the story unravels and Frank’s past is revealed everyone finds themselves dragged into a dangerous game of cat and mouse – where the stakes are life or death.

Koontz is a master of the genre but I’ve found I do prefer his more recent books that are grounded in reality. ‘The Bad Place’ is a decent read though.

The storytelling is good and Koontz does a nice job of capturing the chemistry of a husband and wife team. The characters were likable but unfortunately I just didn’t connect fully with this novel compared to some of his other ones.

Rating: 6/10

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‘Your Heart Belongs To Me’ by Dean Koontz – Review (Book)

Ryan Perry is a man with a problem. A heart problem to be precise. After suffering a few episodes in which he feels himself slipping away he seeks medical advice and is told he has cardiomyopathy, an heredity condition which is the deterioration of the function of the myocardium (the actual heart muscle) for any reason. People with cardiomyopathy are often at risk of sudden cardiac death.

He waits patiently for a donor, which is his only shot at surviving beyond the next year. Suddenly the opportunity arises via a different doctor and he takes it. Then the fun begins.

As things begin to turn sinister Ryan tries to track down the family of his heart donor. But is everything that is going on really happening? Or has his paranoia finally got the better of him?

Dean Koontz’s usual writing style shines through but I found it hard to sympathise with Ryan Perry, in fact I ended up feeling more for his girlfriend, Samantha – who ended up having to deal with the fallout from his illness.

‘Your Heart Belongs To Me’ certainly isn’t one of Koontz’s strongest novels but it moves along at a fair pace and it isn’t a dull read.

For whatever reason this novel didn’t really ‘click’ for me and I found it less enjoyable and not as captivating as some of Koontz’s other work.

Rating: 6/10

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‘By The Light Of The Moon’ by Dean Koontz – Review (Book)

‘By The Light Of The Moon’ tells the story of Dylan O’Conner, his autistic brother Shepherd (Shep), and a comedian named Jillian Jackson.

Dylan and Jillian are targeted by a doctor who takes them, seperately, hostage and injects them with an undisclosed liquid while they are staying at a motel.

While the two characters are unaware of each other they bump into one another shortly after escaping their bonds and are faced outside by a number of unmarked SUV’s. They manage to get away with Shep in tow and so begins a wonderful game of cat and mouse.

This book has plenty of great twists and is really well written. You got a great feel for the characters and while there is a supernatural element to proceedings, everything is well grounded.

I read recently that ‘By The Light Of The Moon’ is the most requested book by Koontz’s fans to receive a sequel. I have to say it’s not a surprise – whether it’s because the book is genuinely great or perhaps because of the unexpected turns it takes – this is probably the best Dean Koontz novel I’ve read.

It’s not perfect but highly recommended.

Rating: 9/10

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The Darkest Evening Of The Year by Dean Koontz – Review (Book)

I’m a big fan of Dean Koontz, some of his books are truly excellent and I have a bit of a back log to get through.

The Darkest Evening Of The Year was next up for me to read and it tells the story of Amy Redwing – the owner of a charity that rescues abused and abandoned dogs. Her boyfriend Brian tags along on a call to one such dog but everything is not quite as it seems.

I struggled to get into this book and I was wondering whether it’s because I’m not a big dog person? Nothing against dogs and I don’t have any issue with them, I just don’t feel an affinity with them so maybe that was what I felt was missing.

Also it was a touch too supernatural for me.

As the book prgressed the story got more and more nonsensical, which I appreciate isn’t a great criticism when you’re talking about a supernatural thriller.

I think the main problem was that I didn’t really care that much about any of the characters so the whole thing left me feeling a bit cold.

I’m afraid this is one Koontz novel I wouldn’t recommend, unless perhaps you love dogs.

Rating 3/10

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GregHorrorShow: The Books Of 2010

I decided to structure things a little differently this year with regards to my end of year round ups.

Games and TV will be getting the full awards treatment but for Books, Films and Music I think an overall list of my favourites would be better suited as, unfortunately, I haven’t had the time to dedicate to them as much as I’d have liked.

So to kick off the awards season here are ten books, in no particular order, I’d recommend that I read this year:

Zombie Survival Guide – Max Brooks

Max Brooks brings us this handbook to help out in the event of a Zombie apocalypse. It’s written as a serious guide, which lends it a surreal but fairly scary feel.

Playing through Dead Nation and watching The Walking Dead have made me glad I own a copy of this… y’know just in case 😉

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Outliers – Malcolm Gladwell

Outliers is the latest book from New Yorker writer Malcolm Gladwell. Gladwell here puts forward a compelling argument for children born at the ‘wrong’ time of year being overlooked as less intelligent than their counterparts, when really it’s a lack of maturity that is the problem.

He discusses the knock on effect this can have. Interesting stuff.

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Homicide: A Year On The Streets – David Simon

This is one hell of a book, both in terms of size and tone.

The ficitonalised account of a real life journalist’s year as part of the Baltimore Police Department’s homicide unit. Harrowing and depressing at times – the life of a murder detective has never been so laid bare. One of the best books I’ve ever read. A must read.

FULL REVIEW

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The Strain – Guillermo Del Toro

The book begins with a plane landing at JFK Airport then shutting down completely on the runway and this is a novel that doesn’t let up from the start.

Upon investigation every passenger is dead with no sign of struggle. Creepy much?

The book follows Dr. Eph Goodweather of the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) as he tries to work out what the hell is going on.

FULL REVIEW

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Gentlemen Of The Road – Michael Chabon

The story of an African and a German, both Jewish, who are road travelling bandits around the year 950AD stands alone in both tone and good old fashioned story telling.

Gentlemen Of The Road is the kind of book I’d expect my father or grandfather to have read as a child – it’s written in a very traditional style and this certainly lends some character to the proceedings.

FULL REVIEW

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The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo – Stieg Larsson

Set in Sweden and telling the story of Mikael Blomkvist, a publisher at Millenium magazine, and Lisbeth Salander, a private investigator, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo is a great piece of storytelling.

The pacing is superb and Stieg Larsson creates some wonderfully believable characters. Not just the main characters either – the entire supporting cast seems to be very well thought out.

There is plenty going on here alongside the good old fashioned murder mystery. Once this book got going I could not put it down.

FULL REVIEW

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Gone Tomorrow – Lee Child

Lee Child’s writing style is wonderfully laid back and easy to read – I always find his books a great experience and ‘Gone Tomorrow’ is no different.

Telling the story of Reacher’s direct involvement in a political/government plot, ‘Gone Tomorrow’ opens in spectacular style and rarely lets up.

FULL REVIEW

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By The Light Of The Moon – Dean Koontz

I’m a big fan of Dean Koontz and for me this supernatural thriller is up there with his best work.

Telling the story of Dylan O’Conner and his brother Shep, Koontz explores an interesting path of deception and intrigue. The characters are thrown in at the deep end along with the reader and it’s great to be along for the ride.

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Dead Space Martyr – B.K Evenson

A prequel to the video game Dead Space was something I was always likely to pick up having loved the game.

This didn’t disappoint as Evenson immersed us in the world of Dead Space and created a great set of characters around an existing universe. In fact some of the characters come direct from the game’s folklore.

If you liked the game you should pick this up, definitely a great read and Evenson does a brilliant job of giving everything that Dead Space ‘feel.’

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The Way Of Shadows – Brent Weeks

I stumbled across this in the bookstore and thought it looked quite cool. I think it helped that I was fresh off the back of playing Assassin’s Creed II so was in the right frame of mind.

I finally got round to reading it earlier in the year and thoroughly enjoyed it. The origin story of a young street rat who is desperate to train as an assassin and the tale of what happens when he gets what he wished for.

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So there you go – a few recommendations for you.

Let me know what you’ve read this year in the comments, I’m always looking for new books to read!

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Darkfall by Dean Koontz – Review (Book)

I am a fan of Dean Koontz and it was interesting to find out that this novel was originally released under another name, as he felt he was being pigeonholed at the time.

Darkfall tells the story of a police detective called Jack Dawson, a widower whose story intertwines with his children, work partner and, among others, a mafia crime boss.

The book started slow and took a while to get going but once it built up a head of steam it was really enjoyable, if a little nonsensical.

Focusing on a set of unexplainable murders that look set to start a gang war in the city, Darkfall takes a sinister turn as it becomes apparent there is no way the murders could’ve happened by human hand.

As the detectives search for clues it becomes clear that a mysterious man named Baba Lavelle, who claims to be a voodoo witch doctor, is somehow involved.

I like Koontz’s easy style as it makes his books enjoyable and straight forward to read. Darkfall is the same, though I wasn’t entirely comfortable with the stalking/threat towards Dawson’s children in the early stages of the book.

However that is a personal opinion and not one that reflects badly on the novel – nothing comes across in bad taste for instance.

Overall Darkfall was a fun, if sinister, novel that got better as it went along and is worth a read. Certainly not one of Koontz’s finest but it was interesting to see him attempt to splice various genres together into one supernatural based story.

Rating: 6/10

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